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A timeline of major events in the case since Malcolm X’s death.

Since the assassination of Malcolm X in 1965, uncertainties have plagued historians and scholars, and questions about key details of the case have lingered.

Here is a timeline of the major events in the case:

Feb. 21, 1965

Malcolm X was killed as he addressed a crowd of roughly 400 people at the Audubon Ballroom at Broadway and 165th Street in Washington Heights. He was pronounced dead later that day.

March. 10, 1965

Mujahid Abdul Halim, a member of the Nation of Islam, was arrested as he fled the ballroom. (He was known as Talmadge Hayer at the time and later as Thomas Hagan).

Within two weeks, two other men were arrested and later indicted in the killing: Muhammad Abdul Aziz (formerly Norman 3X Butler) and Khalil Islam (known also as Thomas 15X Johnson).

Feb. 28, 1966

The trial over Malcolm X’s killing began on Jan. 22, and all three men took the witness stand to deny the accusations. But several weeks later, Mr. Halim testified a second time, telling jurors that he had been involved in the murder and that his two co-defendants were innocent. He declined to name the real killers.

Still, the jury convicted all three men, and they were later sentenced to 20 years to life in prison.

1977 to 1978

Mr. Halim filed two affidavits between 1977 and 1978 that detailed the logistics of the killing and reasserted his claim that his two co-defendants were innocent. He gave partial names of four members of a Nation of Islam mosque in Newark, N.J., saying they had been his partners in the assassination.

A defense lawyer moved for the case to be reopened in light of new evidence, but a judge denied the motion.

1985 and 1987

After Mr. Aziz’s attempts to be released on parole had been twice denied, his application was approved in 1985, and he was released after 20 years in prison, when he was 46 years old.

Two years later, Mr. Islam was also granted parole. He died in 2009.

Mr. Halim was released in 2010).


The publication of Manning Marable’s “Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention,” a best-selling biography that attempted to reshape the perception of Malcolm X’s legacy, spurred new calls for the Justice Department and the New York State attorney general to start full investigations into the assassination.

Experts argued that a review could be conducted under a federal law that allows cold cases of violent crimes against Black people that predate 1970 to be reopened. But the calls for a new investigation went nowhere.

February 2020

The Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., announced that he was beginning a preliminary review of the case as Netflix released a series that argued that Mr. Aziz and Mr. Islam could not have been at the Audubon Ballroom when Malcolm X was killed.

Who Killed Malcolm X?” explored the potential culpability of the four members of the Nation of Islam mosque in New Jersey mentioned in Mr. Halim’s affidavits. The episodes depicted the four men’s involvement as an open secret in the city.

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